I have written about the proliferation of all-makes parts programs in the past, but it seems that lately OEMs are really focusing on promoting those programs more heavily. What’s behind the push?
Take Daimler Trucks North America’s new stand-alone Alliance parts stores. In addition to buying Alliance brand parts at local dealerships, fleets can purchase parts from these stand-alone locations. By the end of the year, there will be 13 of them.
Brad Williamson, director of Alliance and Detroit Reman at DTNA, says the company uses market intelligence, demographic information, and input from dealers to determine where to open these stores. But that’s no guarantee of success. Williamson says creating awareness of what is being offered at the stores has been a challenge.
The stand-alone locations are not the only action DTNA is taking with its all-makes parts program. It has also expanded the retail parts areas for Alliance Parts within Freightliner dealerships. “To the dealer, it provides a professional retail area designed to increase product display,” Williamson says. “For the fleet customer, it provides a better example of all parts available to purchase when visiting a dealership.”
And Daimler is not the only OEM focusing attention on its all-makes parts program. Paccar Parts now has 52 TRP retail stores in the U.S. and Canada. In total there are 187 TRP retail stores in 39 countries.
“Stores are located in areas designed to best support the all-makes commercial vehicle market,” explains Chris Scheel, senior director of marketing. “We strategically place TRP store locations where trucks frequently travel and work to pick up freight. Those often include coastal and inland ports, as well as densely populated urban areas. We also take a look at heavily trafficked highways in rural locations and place store locations there for the convenience of drivers who are out on the road.”
The TRP portfolio has more than 125,000 part numbers across more than 80 product lines, including accessories, batteries, brake drums, lubricants, coolants, steering and electrical components, Scheel says. The company plans to continue to expand the breadth of its existing portfolio and explore new products to meet new and changing customer needs.
The Alliance line currently has 63 product lines, from wheel-end to collision, from chemicals and fluids to chrome, fuel tanks and belts. “We are adding new product lines every year, and before the end of 2020 will offer more than 100 product lines,” Williamson says.
The all-makes parts programs are designed “to provide fleets with quality options at different price levels for the lifecycle of the truck as long as the fleet owns it,” he adds.
Scheel says fleets benefit from these all-makes lines because of selection and value, quality and reliability, and availability and support.
All-makes parts programs are not new. This year, TRP is celebrating 25 years in business, and the Alliance brand has been around for 20 years. But it seems that in recent years OEMs are putting more muscle behind these brands as they try to capture more of the aftermarket parts business, perhaps recognizing that many fleets run multiple brands of trucks. They also are hoping to capture parts business from the second and third owners of the vehicles, who have traditionally preferred aftermarket parts to OEM original parts.
It will be interesting to see if these stand-alone parts stores are successful. The truck parts aftermarket is already highly competitive, and e-commerce is taking a bite out of brick-and-mortar sales. Fleets will purchase parts in places where they get the best value for their money, which goes beyond just the cost of the parts. The winners in the truck parts business will be those parts outlets that can get the fleet the parts it wants, at prices it is willing to pay — and perhaps more importantly, when they are needed.